Controversial path to possible glut of natural gas
Some random quotes:
But some warn that by expanding “hydraulic fracturing” of shale, America strikes a Faustian bargain: It gains new energy reserves, but it consumes and quite possibly pollutes critical water resources.
“People need to understand that these are not your old-fashioned gas wells,” says Tracy Carluccio, special projects director for Delaware Riverkeeper, a watchdog group worried about a surge in new gas drilling from New York to Pennsylvania and from Ohio to West Virginia. “This technology produces tremendous amounts of polluted water and uses dangerous chemicals in every single well that’s developed.”
The article singles Texas out:
Besides using vast amounts of groundwater, scientists and environmentalists worry that toxic frac water – 30 percent or more – remains underground and may years later pollute freshwater aquifers.
Millions of gallons of frac water come back to the surface. It could be treated, but in Texas it is most often reinjected into the ground.
Millions more gallons of “produced” water flow out later during gas production. This flow, too, is often tainted with radioactivity and poisons from the shale. Often stored in pits, that waste can leak or overflow while awaiting reinjection.
Simply put: “Each of these wells uses millions of gallons of fresh water, and all of it is going to be contaminated,” Ms. Carluccio says.
“There are numerous instances in various states of surface water and drinking water contamination from hydraulic fracturing,” says Kate Sinding, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York. “Nobody, including the industry, has done any in-depth examination to find out the impact on ground water. We are seeing some bad stuff coming out of individual wells and taps.”
I’ve posted several accounts about polluted wells.
“EPA produced a final report … that I believe is scientifically unsound and contrary to the purposes of law,” Weston Wilson, a 30-year EPA veteran, wrote in a whistle-blower petition in 2004. “Based on the available science and literature, EPA’s conclusions are unsupportable.”
Today, chemicals used in fracturing are considered by the companies to be trade secrets. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts companies from being forced by the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and other federal laws to reveal what chemicals are in their fracturing fluids.
But some say that it’s critical to know what’s being injected deep underground.
“We’re very concerned about this toxic drilling and hydraulic fracturing,” says Gwen Lachelt, director of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project in Durango, Colo. “We need to know what’s in what they’re putting into the ground.”
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Jake @ Subsurface Water says
I’d say that it’s very important to know what we are doing to the earth. Contamination of our drinking water just sounds like a very bad thing to me especially if we keep fracking without knowing exactly what kind of harm we are causing.